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Colts big-fish DE Mathis off board

The Indianapolis Colts have taken pass-rushing star Robert Mathis off the free-agent table. The Colts have reached an agreement on a new contract with Mathis, it was announced today. They had placed the franchise tag on Mathis just before 4 p.m. because the deal was not quite finalized.

Mathis was a big free-agent talent who would have looked great in a Bills uniform. He's 31 years old and has 41 sacks over the past four seasons. He has 83.5 sacks in nine seasons. He would have been very expensive in free agency - perhaps $10 million a year. The Bills never have paid a player that kind of money. However, they do like Mathis a lot. If they were going after a big-ticket guy, they would have thought about it with Mathis. It's not an issue now.

UPDATE: Reports say Mathis got $36 million over four years, or $9 million a year. It's a sign of how hard it is to find good pass rushers that a guy 31 would command such a deal. It helps that Mathis has shown no signs of slowing down. His production has been remarkably steady.

---Mark Gaughan



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